This guest post comes to us from the Community Foundation of Frederick County. The generosity of Frederick comes full circle as the recipient of a scholarship finds himself caring for one of the community members who made the scholarship possible — it’s enough to give you goosebumps!
August 2010: It is early in the morning, and still dark. The patient is awakened by a presence in the room, and as her eyes adjust, she sees a tall man standing at the end of the bed.
“Hello,” she says.
As he switches on the light, he replies, “Hello, I am your nurse, Emmanuel.” He points to the white board on the wall, where his name is written.
The patient is now very much awake. “What is your last name?” she asks.
He replies, “Wanki.”
She says, “We had our picture taken together at the Community Foundation in 2006. You received the first scholarship from the fund my husband and I created.”
Emmanuel instantly remembers her, and is speechless.
This is the story of how The James and Melinda Lautenberger Scholarship Fund has come full circle. James and Melinda created this fund in 2005 to provide annual scholarships to Frederick County residents to pursue post-secondary education in accounting, health care, or the physical sciences. The scholarship gives special preference to students studying at Frederick Community College.
Emmanuel Wanki, a native of Cameroon, was the first scholarship recipient of James and Melinda’s fund in 2006. He completed his nursing degree from Frederick Community College in May 2008. He began his career at Frederick Memorial Hospital in May 2007, before he graduated as a Certified Nursing Assistant and has continued his employment there as a nurse.
“When I realized that Mrs. Lautenberger was my patient, I was speechless,” said Emanuel. “Then I was very emotional and so sad that she was ill.”
Emmanuel says his initial motivation to enter the healthcare field was job security. Now he says his motivation is so much more than that. “It is more than just a job. Now it is about the relationship with patients. I feel their pain, and sometimes it is hard to disassociate myself. Becoming a nurse has changed my view of life and what I think about life.”
Melinda was almost as speechless as Emmanuel that morning in the hospital, but happy. “What a thrill to see him finished with his education and putting it to use,” she said. “James and I created the Fund out of a desire to help others obtain education they may not otherwise be able to afford. I am very happy to know we achieved our goal.”
Emanuel was also the first recipient of The Martha Murphy Virts Nursing Scholarship in 2006. He plans to continue his studies to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, and is especially interested in the critical care field. “I am so very grateful,” he said. “I am thankful to be part of such a big opportunity.”